North East Connected

A City Sings…

SOME OF SUNDERLAND’S finest young singers appeared on stage at the Sunderland Empire.

They were there to compete in Sunderland City Council’s annual school choral competition ‘City Sings’ which was launched in 2004.

Young people from nine primary and two secondary school choirs successfully auditioned to compete in this year’s final, which was won by Castletown Primary School.

The school were awarded the Dr Gilbert Trophy for musical achievement and a cheque for £200.

The Dr Gilbert Trophy is in honour of the local benefactor who left a cultural legacy to encourage schools to nurture and develop pupils’ love of music.

The schools taking part in City Sings 2017 were John F Kennedy, East Herrington, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Newbottle Primary, St Joseph’s Sunderland, Hetton Lyons, St Pauls, Diamond Hall Junior, Red House Academy and Kepier School.

All received a £50 Voucher from the Sunderland Music Hub to spend  on improving the music resources at their individual schools.

New prizes were also introduced this year with East Herrington winning £100 as an extremely close runner-up, St Paul’s Primary receiving £100 for Most Entertaining Choir, and a special prize of six sessions with a vocal expert for the most promising choir of the night, Diamond Hall Junior School.

This year’s theme of ‘City Sings for Friendship’ was used as a celebration of  the Sunderland City of Culture 2021 bid, with choir leaders encouraged to reflect this in their song choices,

During the performance leading local musician Marty Longstaff from international recording artists the Lake Poets, joined nine members of St Paul’s school on stage.

They performed a song they have specially written for the Culture bid called ‘City of Light’ which was followed by one of the Lake Poets best known songs about Sunderland called ‘City by the Sea’ which has been heard from stages all over the world.

‘City Sings’ is organised by Sunderland City Council and delivered by the Sunderland Music Hub with funding from the Arts Council and Department for Education music education hub fund.

The Mayor Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson said: “This fantastic annual music event not only helps showcase the young musical talent we have in our schools, but also helps all those taking part to explore different forms of musical cultures and tradition through the different themes every year.

” The theme this year was the role all our young musicians, inside and outside of school, can play in Sunderland’s bid to become national City of Culture 2021 and we hope that the opportunity to perform at one of the country’s finest theatres can provide some inspiration.”

Director of the Castletown Primary school choir in Grange Road,  Caoimhe Ni Chomhrai said: “I am so proud of all the children in our choir. Their hard work and commitment is fantastic and they thoroughly deserve this success.

“Our choir is fully inclusive and is comprised of children aged six to eleven who love singing and put their hearts and souls into everything we do.

“We have amazing parents and staff who go out of their way to support all choir events. This accolade is a celebration for our whole school community.”

Members of the winning school choir included Alfie, 11, who said: “We all get on well with each other. The older children help the little ones. We all love singing in the choir.”

Emillee, 11, added: “I was ecstatic when they announced we had won – I cried. We all bond together through our music and singing”while Mia, 10, said: “I was over the moon to be part of the choir to win City Sings especially since it’s my last year in primary schoolIt was great to know that all our hard work had paid off.”

This year’s judging panel were Mark Anyan from National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Clare Crinson from the Durham Cathedral outreach programme and Robin Crinson.

Robin stepped in at the last minute to replace Sharon Durant was taken ill before the concert.

Sharon had worked with all the schools on a special musical arrangement of the David Bowie song ‘We can be heroes’ which was sung by the 500 children and 1400 parents, family, friends  and school staff who packed the theatre.

Manager of the Sunderland Music Hub which provides school music services on behalf of Sunderland City Council, Rebecca Pedlow said: “The City Sings event generates a great deal of excitement every year within every school that takes part with pupils and parents alike.

“It’s an experience that no-one involved with the choirs will ever forget, performing on the stage of the magnificent Sunderland Empire to a full house.”

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